Sunday, March 15, 2015

Will the Real Jesus please stand up?

There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that "all you need is love."
There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding "the god within" while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
There's the intellectual Jesus- who cares only for doctrine and creeds, and wants His followers to be "missional".
There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.
There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
(Obviously none of these represents the true Jesus who is God reigning in Heaven, who died on the cross for our sins, rose and conquered death on the third day. Who is at the same time a God of mercy, love, wrath, justice, compassion, and all knowing and all powerful. Who is a perfect Father and Savior! And who is coming back soon in judgement and will restore the earth out of sin and the curse! That's the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Christian Worldview for Children

All Christian parents want to train their children to be “good kids.” But that honorable goal is starkly shallow compared to the eternal purposes God has in mind for your parenting.

The purpose of training is to prepare the soil of our child's heart so they will seek God for themselves and be convicted of their own sinfulness and their need to repent. Compelling a child to “pray a sinner's prayer” will not save them. It will only make false converts if the heart is not prepared for God's presence.

The Bible mentions the heart 826 times. “Heart” refers to the core of a person's being. From the heart proceed our good and bad thoughts, emotions and behavior. What we teach our children can determine whether that soil is prepared to produce good or evil.

Nothing is more important than seeding deep within the heart and mind of a child core Christian convictions like Jesus is God; The reasons we know Jesus Christ rose from the dead, why we should be convinced the Bible is a true and accurate revelation from beginning to end and the absolute truth that Jesus is the only way to God. Unless our children know these and other key doctrines revealed in the Bible, they will not be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Although the word “doctrine” sometimes intimidates people, it is nothing more than a description of the will of God and the Gospel. If we have not trained the hearts and minds of our children to love sound teachings then we should not be surprised when three-fourths of them eventually walk away from the faith in college.

Excerpt from the book:

"The purpose of our training is to prepare
the soil of our children’s hearts so they will seek God for
themselves and be convicted of sinfulness and the need
to repent. Forcing or coercing children to “pray a sinner’s
prayer” will not save them but only make false converts.
I know this well from personal experience. At the age of
five, I prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” and at seven I walked the
aisle to join our church and be baptized. For years, I used
these acts to affirm my salvation. I learned to “perform,” to
do what was expected of me, or to do what I knew would
make other Christians respect and accept me.
I played the “game” even though I didn’t know I was
playing a game. I thought I was saved because I had prayed
the right prayer, walked the aisle, and was baptized. It was
not until I read Revival’s Golden Key by Ray Comfort that
I understood my total depravity and need for Biblical repentance. "

Order it here: Christian Worldview for Children

Monday, March 2, 2015


By Dr. Woodrow Kroll

          You would think that all Christians have a biblical view of the world around them.  After all, we go to church, we're a part of a small group, we've read The Purpose-Driven Life.  Are you ready for a reality check?  The research says just the opposite.  Most Christians do not have a biblical worldview.

          Author and researcher George Barna made waves by citing statistics that show just 9 percent of all adults in America who claim to be "born again" have a biblical worldview.  You didn't read that incorrectly-it was 9 percent.   Protestants as a whole could only manage 7 percent with a biblical worldview (The Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).

But that can't be possible, can it?  How could only 9 percent of born again adults view the world with a biblical focus?   Let me make a few observations.

Bible illiteracy is rampant in the church

          Like it or not, it's time we faced up to the fact that we Christians are blatantly biblically illiterate.  We don't know the Bible nearly as well as we think we do. 

To say that Bible illiteracy is rampant in America is black eye for a nation that thinks of itself as Christian.  Sixty-five percent of Americans agree that the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life."  Amazingly, 28% of Americans who believe the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life" say they rarely or never read the Bible  (The Gallup Organization, October 20, 2000).  Therein lies the problem.

But that's the American public.  What about the American church?  Surely we aren't as biblically illiterate as our unchurched neighbor?  Don't count on it.

Among those individuals who are associated with the Christian faith, only half (50%) rate themselves as being "absolutely committed" to the Christian faith (Barna Research Group, March 19, 2004).  This lack of commitment to the faith often stems from a lack of commitment to the Word of God, the foundation for our faith. 

In 2004, 16% of all adults agreed somewhat that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 19% in 2002 and 25% in 1991.  Still, 12 percent of born again Christians disagree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings (Barna Research Group, "The Bible," 2004).

This innate mistrust of the Bible has resulted in millions of people owning Bibles but very few reading or believing them.   The percentage of frequent readers, those who read the Bible at least once a week, has decreased from 40% in 1990 to 37% today.  Only one American in seven reports an involvement with the Bible that goes beyond reading it (The Gallup Organization, October 20, 2000).  The "born again" segment of the population fares only slightly better.

          But with more programs, more 40-day adventures, more training in leadership skills, surely today's pastors are better equipped than ever before to help their people out of the quagmire of Bible illiteracy.  You'd think.

Pastors often do not themselves hold biblical worldviews.

Isaiah 56:11 makes reference to "shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way . . . ."   We have to be careful not to generalize here because there are many fine men of God who are concerned about their people's understanding of the Word.  Still, an increasing number "look to their own way," or if not their own way, the way of the latest hot book on church growth.

Based on interviews with 601 Senior Pastors nationwide, representing a random cross-section of Protestant churches, Barna reports that only half of the country's Protestant pastors – 51% - have a biblical worldview (Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).

George Barna argued, "The low percentage of Christians who have a biblical worldview is a direct reflection of the fact that half of our primary religious teachers and leaders (senior pastors) do not have one."

In some denominations, the vast majority of clergy do not have a biblical worldview, and it shows up clearly in the data related to the theological views and moral choices of people who attend those churches"  (Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).

The result of Bible illiteracy is theological heterodoxy.

          Heterodoxy is just a big word for whacky theology.  Because people in the pews don't know their Bibles very well, and because the pastor feels constrained to preach so as not to offend the mixed multitude attending church on Sunday morning, born-again adults are beginning to formulate some beliefs and practices that are anything but biblical.

George Barna says that Americans willingly "embrace beliefs that are logically contradictory and their preference for blending different faith views together create unorthodox religious viewpoints."

Consider these findings:

n      Among born again Christians, 10% believe that people are reincarnated after death.

n      Among born again Christians, 29% claim it is possible to communicate with the dead.

n      Fifty percent of born again Christians contend that a person can earn salvation based upon good works  (Barna Research Group, October 21, 2003).

Don't miss this.  We are not talking about the beliefs of Americans here.  We aren't even talking about the beliefs of churched Americans.  We are talking about "born-again, churched Americans."  These are things believed by the people who sat in the pew next to you last Sunday.

4.  Biblical illiteracy that leads to theological heterodoxy always leads to moral frailty.

          Those who have a biblical worldview also hold to biblical concepts and standards for living.  Here's the proof.

n      Less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39% of other adults).

n      Those people with a biblical worldview were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets than those who did not have a biblical worldview.

n      While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so (Barna Research Group, December 1, 2003).

          Obviously knowing the Bible well impacts living with a biblical worldview and vice versa.

Follow the progression.  We read our Bibles less and therefore understand less biblical truth.  We attend a church where biblical truth was once the hallmark of the pulpit, but today the pulpit has been removed and we are fed a steady diet of spiritual gummy bears, more taste-less filling. 

As a dumbed-down church we look for a belief system that matches others who have come into the church or those we read or watch on Christian television or hear on Christian radio. 

We are so biblically ignorant we don't even know that we've adopted beliefs that are much closer to Eastern mysticism than Christian orthodoxy.  As a result, even though we are proudly part of the "born again" segment of Christianity, we hold a worldview that is no more biblical than our non-churched neighbor.

          Does that hurt?  It should.  The truth often hurts.  But we cannot correct the flaws in our worldview until we admit those flaws exist.  And do they ever exist!

          In future articles we'll address what you can do if you feel your worldview weakening.  For now, get back to the Bible and you'll start to reverse the progression toward moral malaise.